Concordia may have won Thursday's game in the final seconds over New Haven, but it took 32 minutes of basketball to get it done.
Here are some of the keys to the victory:
1. Never quitting
I will admit, I had Concordia dead in the water down 13 in the third quarter and Steve McElvene owning the Cadets in the paint. Yet after Coach Josh Eggold took a timeout with 1:57 left in the third, his team scored the next eight points to close out the quarter. A 13-point deficit was cut to a manageable five with eight minutes left.
2. Dealing with McElvene
The junior went for 18 points and 19 rebounds, but Concordia made a concerted effort in the second half to work him out of the paint with high screens and speed up the game to not allow him to get into defensive position. The Cadets also did a better job on the boards in the second half.
3. McCall in the clutch
This kid does not back down. He brought the Concordia fans to their feet with a dunk over McElvene in the second half, and made six straight free throws in the final 46 seconds to put Concordia in position for the win.
4. Living without Gremaux
Not having its tallest player available in Brian Gremaux on Thursday no doubt hurt the Cadets, but they minimized the loss of their tallest player as best they could. That meant Brandon Webb stepping up in the paint and other players used to playing on the perimeter getting inside more and blocking out. Every little bit helped in the victory.
5. Getting into the passing lanes
Concordia forced New Haven into 15 turnovers for the game, including several in which pass deflections by Cadets defenders were the cause. The Bulldogs had a shot to put the game away midway through the second half, but costly turnovers were the difference between the game being over by the fourth and Concordia being within striking distance.